Botswana Magic

Friday, November 7, 2008

Hello one and all--

I'm back to give you the next installment on my amazing African adventure. As you can see by the cool photo on the right, I did learn to use my camera (phew!) and managed to take well over one thousand pictures. Those of you who read the blog regularly, will surely point out that the cheetah is sitting down. Yes, it turns out that I was right about that little part: moving animals are very hard to photograph when you're a beginner. Fortunately for me, cats are lazy. That's one of the things I saw firsthand: a cat is a cat is a cat. It doesn't much matter if it's your housecat or an adult male lion. They're sublimely cool, relaxed, playful, and mostly, lazy. Of course, when you're hanging out beneath a noonday sun that is baking the earth to granite and making you sweat where you stand, laziness seems like a virtue. :)

So, where did I leave off? I believe my last post was about Zim and Zam. After that, we were off by small plane to Botswana. If you look on the map, you'll see that it's just above South Africa. The is where the Kalihari desert is, or most of it, and if you're like me, you've seen a lot of Discovery Channel and Animal Planet shows set in this area. We were not in the desert, thank goodness, as I hear the temps can reach 128 degrees IN THE SHADE. Assuming you can find shade, that is. Anyway, we were in an area called the Okavango Delta. It's a vast network of swamps and rivers and lakes, much of which stays wet even in the heart of the dry season. The cool thing about that is--you guessed it--the animals come from all over to drink the waters of the Okavango. Our first stop was a lovely resort in the Chobe National Forest area, run by a company called Kwando safaris. We had a great room, overlooking the river. We could lie in bed, read a book, and watch baboons and warthogs dashing in front of us. Water buffalo stood crowded along the river, and on a gorgeous sunset cruise, we saw crocodiles, elephants, hippos, and millions of gloriously colored birds.

What I remember most about this part of the trip was that I saw my first real African sunset. (In Zimbabwae, we experienced the sunset from a distance as we were running to catch our ride at the crazy-busy-heartbreaking border). I have tried to put the first sunset pics HERE, but I have no idea how to do it, so I guess they'll show up on top. The first one is the beautiful sunset, and the second shows the boat we were on, sipping wine, taking pics, and watching God's gorgeous light show. It was fantastic. And yes, we did spy a few fireflies. :)

I was also lucky to get news from Pam Shelton (Botswana Book Project) just before I left. In the same week I was down there, she received a shipment of almost seven thousand books, which she set about distributing to local schools. So thanks to all of you who helped me gather and donate books. They made it down and were much appreciated.

Well, we only had one day on the Chobe River, and then it was off to the start of our safari, so I guess this is a good stopping point for today. Now I'm off to speak at the Rose City Writers group in Portland, Oregon. I'll check back in when I return...

Remind me to chat a bit about all of tv shows now that I'm mostly caught up. Remind me, too, to give you all the new scoop on True Colors. There's lots to tell. I see that it's finally up on Amazon and So it's beginning...thanks to all of you for the support along the way. The cover looks great and the reviews have been pretty darn good. I guess soon I'll start hearing (and reading online) what readers have to say. That's always interesting. And you all know what that means: contest time. I know a lot of you have been waiting patiently and now the time is right.

So that's on the agenda for next time. Safari and book publishing. What a combo. Send in your questions and I'll try to answer.

Thanks for tuning in.




Anonymous Anonymous said...

That sunset is amazing, and I think it's more than a coincidence that it's hue strongly favors the True Colors cover. Seeing it in person was your reward for finishing another INCREDIBLE book!

God is good!

November 7, 2008 at 2:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those pictures are breathtaking! I can only imagine what it must have been like to really be there and see those colors with your own eyes. I also ONLY want to imagine that heat ;-)

So, how were the bugs, really? How about the food? Did you try any specialty of the area?

November 7, 2008 at 3:25 PM  
Blogger Leen said...

Ok, I had to do a quick appearance after Lynn's post. When she asked if you tried any local specialties, I was really thinking the only two appropiate questions to go with that, were: can a person with a weak stomach like me survive in Africa (I love my Gravol!) and where do you find the restrooms in the desert when you really have to go? And believe me... those are the clean versions of the questions I really wanted to ask... lol.


November 7, 2008 at 5:00 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

A-MAZING pictures, Kristin! I'm glad you're back and that you had such an AWESOME visit to Africa.

November 8, 2008 at 6:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lisa and Kristin- I spent the last four days totally enthralled with Jodi Picoult's Perefct Match. Wow is all I can say. Disturbing. And enlightening?

And now... I need something light and funny.

See you soon,

November 10, 2008 at 12:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome cheetah picture, very professional looking!

All I can say is: bring on the contest!!

It would be SO awesome to read True Colors! That'd be my Christmas present! You have no idea, your books are seriously one of my favorite recreational activities.

Plus I am absolutely dying to read something that isn't related to school. I just got done with a string of exams and need some brain massages.

I re-read The Things We Do for Love. Please, oh please, can you tell me what happens to Lauren, Angie and Conlan?

November 10, 2008 at 6:45 PM  
Blogger Leen said...

Ok, I do need to make some more semi-intelligent comments on this blog post. First of all: I've always been the one who was pestering Kristin on her photographing talents and I must say that I agree with all the previous comments in that she more than obliged! You really got a hidden talent there, girl! Unless you cheated and let your husband take all the pictures or you photoshopped a lot to get these kinda results, I must say I'm amazed by the results you've got. Must be a fantastic camera anyway... lol.

Other than that: I'm all ready for the contest AND for True Colors (ok, I'll break down and leave out the u in the spelling of colours now, but then just for the book title). So I read it is supposed to be up on and went to check it out for a second, only to find out that they've got a different cover showing there! It's actually a completely different book, named "The myth of Alzheimer's", which would actually be funny if it wasn't for the fact that I'm not impressed with people messing with my favourite author's publicity for her books. In case you don't take my word for it and it isn't there anymore by the time you go to, I've taken a screenshot to prove that it was actually there!

Learned something new today too: instead of typing, I'll use instead from now on. Gotta love having a good computer science teacher, right? ;)


November 11, 2008 at 7:35 PM  
Blogger Kimberly Fisk said...

Kristin, the photos are GORGEOUS. I'm in shock: remembered camera AND batteries. LOL LOL LOL

And Leen, thanks so much for pointing out the mistake on Amazon. Hopefully that will get corrected soon.


November 11, 2008 at 10:34 PM  
Blogger Cindy W said...

I've been able to check out the pictures, but not read yet, I've been so busy, will catch up soon. The pictures are just amazing. Keep them coming!

Kristin, please close your eyes until the end of my post! Thank you- you'll see why later!

Fireflies-I had an idea. I thought we each could send an ornament to Kristin for Christmas. We would send them to Kim and Kim could give Kristin at the same time, she'll willing to collect. Thanks Kim!

If you are interested, Please email me at [email protected] and in the subject line put, I am a Firefly, so I'll know. I'll give more info via email. Have a great day fireflies, Cindy

November 12, 2008 at 6:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kristin - the sunset pics are sooo pretty but I'll bet the pictures do no do the real thing justice, do they? Somehow the colors are more vibrant and spectacular in real life than when captured on film. Still really, really cool even so. I ordered my copy of 'True Colors' already! And I can't wait to read it - my special treat for me. Now I just have to be patient and savor the anticipation. LOL

I'm enjoying hearing about Africa, so blog soon!

Hugs to all,


November 12, 2008 at 1:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Kristin,
The photos are magic,hope for more.I have been wondering about something for awhile.Do you think you may have got some of your story telling gift from Uncle Ken?He told the most wonderful stories most or some true.Hope you are all rested from your amazing trip, and ready to go.We are aff to swim with with the Dolphins the middle of Jan.--can hardly wait.Its amazing.God its been wet and dark.

November 12, 2008 at 3:54 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Dear Lisa--

How funny that I didn't even notice the connection to the True Colors cover! Is that amazing, or what? No wonder I thought it was a great shot, and a great cover!

Thanks for your eagle eye!



November 13, 2008 at 12:20 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Dear Lynn--

The bugs! I know. As you all know from my pre-africa blog, I was totally freaked out about the bugs. Mosquitos, mostly. I mean, we went through all those shots and then took malaria drugs before we even left and throughout the trip, and then, when we got there...nothing. No bugs. Even in those pics, when we were out on a slow moving river at sunset, no bugs. Amazing, huh? It was one of the many "difficulties" of African travel that turned out to be no problem at all. And as to the local food, my favorites were "jungle oats" (oatmeal made over an open fire in a big cauldron) and "hot maize" which was a cereal made of corn, slow cooked over an open fire. Just add milk and brown sugar and yum!


November 13, 2008 at 12:23 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Leen ---

Of course these are your questions! :) I know we have a lot in common. Anyway, I answered above about the bugs. The food was actually great. I never really had more than a slight twinge of a stomach ache, and that was only once. I had enough meds to open my own hospital and needed none of them. And believe me, Ben and I are not adventurous eaters, and we had no problem whatsoever. We were careful, of course, but it was problem free. And as to finding a restroom on a game drive--good luck! Ha. There's NOTHING out there but animals. (which makes the idea of going to the bathroom less than ideal). Of course you could do the old hide behind a bush thing, but I prefered to drink nothing in the morning...

I can't believe I missed you in the Amsterdam airport! What a cool thing it would have been to meet...


November 13, 2008 at 12:27 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Laura and Michelle--

Thanks! It's great to be home. I'm glad everyone is enjoying the photos.

What's next on your TBR pile, Michelle?


November 13, 2008 at 12:28 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...


Thanks for the compliment on the photo. It's one of my favs, to be honest. I took a lot of photos of those cheetahs in order to get one that showed some action. Remind me later to tell you all how we found those cats.

Kim is coming over tomorrow and the contest is on the top of the agenda. Soon!



November 13, 2008 at 12:29 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...


You're cracking me up again. My husband DID take the shot of me and my friendly Masai warrior, but all the rest are mine. Okay, so I'm not showing you all the loser shots, but there are a few pearls in there. What is they say about a blind squirrel finding a few acorns?

And thanks for the heads up on the Amazon listing. I've passed it on to my publisher and they're working on it. Mixed up isbn numbers, I guess.


November 13, 2008 at 1:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cindy - love your idea! Count me in.

Kristin & Kim - My friend who is an amazing artist, was the one I wanted to help me with a firefly t-shirt design. He's been crazy busy at work, but some time opening up soon. Still interested? I "see" it in my head, just not an artist. Let me know.

All - I started Anita Shreve's new book last night, Testimony. I was just going to read the first chapter or two because I wasn't sleepy enough. Wow, six chapters before forcing myself to put it down. I think it's going to be a good one.

Talk to you all soon. I might not be online much until Sunday. We are off tomorrow to La. for my precious grandmother's 90th birthday celebration!

See ya! Lisa

November 13, 2008 at 3:32 PM  
Blogger Cindy W said...

Hi Kristin! So glad you are back and back safe! I can't wait to see more pictures and hear more stories. I am most curious about the warrior and his wives? How many did he have, what did you eat, Do you have a picture of the crater and bracelet? Did you travel by old bus (have Indiana Jones or Romancing the Stone visions in my head, different country, but still I have the vision in my head) How did your son handle you guys gone?

I finally got caught up on all blogging and comments. It's been a bit crazy, I work in the financial industry, need I say more???

Amazon won't let me put the review up early, I will check the other sites by the weekend!

Iron Man, 27 Dresses and The Incredible Hulk were great recent movies. We rented The original Muppet Movie to watch with our kids, who loved it and I sung like I was a little kid again!

I started reading JR Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood books, some Dark Hunter (Sherrilyn Kenyon) books and Intimate Enemies by Shana Abe book, who has an expensive back list. Enough for now, Missed you all and Kim did a great job! Cindy

November 13, 2008 at 4:35 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Dear Anita--

Thanks so much for the compliments about the photos. If anyone in my family heard, they'd be laughing. :) And yes, the actual sunsets were absolutely breathtakingly beautiful and beyond my ability to capture. That holding the camera still and all was too hard! Thank you so, so much for pre ordering TC. That's just lovely. I can't wait for the review to start showing up on Amazon and It's always fun to read, and enlightening. Yes, even the bad ones...


November 15, 2008 at 9:18 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Dear Sharon--

Great to hear from you ! and yes, you're spot on about my getting my storytelling ability from him. In fact, my second book is dedicated to him. For those of you who don't know, Ken was my grandfather, and a wonderful man and a storyteller from way back. I think it's the Welsh genes...

Have fun with the dolphins! I didn't that once and I was such a chicken I was scared. Those animals are BIG when you're underwater with them...


November 15, 2008 at 9:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Accidentally posted on the wrong post.

Reading "The Lucky One" by Nicholas Sparks.

Then hopefully "Looking for Peyton Place" by Barbara Delinsky.

Waiting for the contest:)

November 17, 2008 at 1:17 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I love seeing what everyone is reading, but I have to ask if I am the only one in the world who has waited so long to begin the "Twilight Series"? Is that topic even allowed on Kristin's comments ( I feel like such a traitor!)? I wasn't interested in the series until I heard that the first book was being made into a movie (premieres in our area this weekend), then I jumped on the bandwagon. I'm hooked. I'm on the third book, Eclipse.

Have a Great Thanksgiving everyone!

November 18, 2008 at 8:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Laura, you are not alone. I have a firefly confession. I enjoyed reading the comments back/forth about the Twilight Series, but had absolutely no desire to read them. As diverse as my book collection is, I couldn't get past the 'I'm not reading a vampire book'. I just couldn't see how it would appeal to me at all. And, I wouldn't dare mention it on the blog, and be on firefly probation.

Well, let me tell you - this weekend on our road trip for my Grandma's 90th birthday, my daughter brought a friend - her best friend since 1st grade. They are now 20 and 21. The friend read Twilight and New Moon (? hope that is the 2nd one) in two days. She raved about them. Here's the best part, my daughter who HATES to read (which pains me - smile), asked for the Twilight book. She read the first few chapters of her friend's copy and couldn't put it down.

I went out last night and bought the series. We are going to read them, too.

Would never have known about them, but for this blog. Awesome!


November 19, 2008 at 10:17 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Laura and Lisa--

Go Twilight! I'm going to see the movie tomorrow with my friend Megan Chance, who is also my critique partner. I have a very complicated opinion of the Twilight series; some of the books I absolutely loved, and some I really did not like, but I am always a fan of anyone who gets kids to read. An interesting question about Twilight is this: is Bella a good role model for young girls. (Not that a good role model is required or necessary for good YA fiction.) It's more a question about cultural pressures on girls and what we, as women, want our daughters to know, understand, believe, and hope for. Weigh in, fireflies. :)


November 20, 2008 at 7:21 PM  
Blogger Leen said...

Kristin: I think it would be rather difficult for you to start recognizing your fireflies at the airport. I do not stand out in a crowd anyway. As you know stand-up comedians are usually rather shy people.

My own excuse for not seeing you if you were actually there, was probably being too preoccupied with a 32 year old toddler. Long story there, but it comes down to the fact that some travel companions demand lots of care: you gotta feed them in time, so that they don't start to whine, for instance. ;)

As for what all you fireflies are reading: there's so many new names in there, that I can't keep track of them all. The latest hype are vampire books? Right... ok... Twilight Series. Looked it up and cringed at the price of the set. Maybe if I get to read some more about it. I still have a zillion unread books lying around here anyways. But maybe I'll try to make a list of names of authors and book titles that have been mentioned here to take along with me for when I go to the book fair thing where I go every December. Would be nice if I actually had the time to compose such a list, though. I'll be glad if I even make it to the whole book fair to begin with. Even though I have to: lots of cheap(er) books to buy there for Christmas gifts.

I think the mailman is bringing me two extra copies of "Comfort and joy" tomorrow, by the way. Those too are gonna be in somebody's stocking. Haven't found any Dutch versions of that particular one, though, so they'll just have to be people that read English. But then I already got them picked anyway.


PS. How come I seldom get any existing words for this "word verification" thing when leaving my comments, yet when I do get a real word, I get "witch"? Is that like a sign or so? ;)

November 20, 2008 at 7:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, I'm jealous, about the fireflies. I once saw them on a trip back east and was amazed! I thought fire flies were just made up. But there they were lights bobbing in the air. I bet they were awesome to see in Africa.

December 15, 2008 at 2:26 AM  

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